Day By Day

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Neocatechumenates at the Gates of Vienna

The secularization of European elites and the aggressiveness of the continent's Muslim population has produced a popular revival of Christianity -- not so much the old state churches, but evangelical upstarts. Christianity. Despite fears that Europe is turning into Eurabia, Christianity has proven to be surprisingly durable.

Philip Jenkins writes:

[T]he rapid decline in the continent’s church attendance over the past 40 years may have done Europe a favor. It has freed churches of trying to operate as national entities that attempt to serve all members of society. Today, no church stands a realistic chance of incorporating everyone. Smaller, more focused bodies, however, can be more passionate, enthusiastic, and rigorously committed to personal holiness. To use a scientific analogy, when a star collapses, it becomes a white dwarf—smaller in size than it once was, but burning much more intensely. Across Europe, white-dwarf faith communities are growing within the remnants of the old mass church.

Perhaps nowhere is this more true than within European Catholicism, where new religious currents have become a potent force. Examples include movements such as the Focolare, the Emmanuel Community, and the Neocatechumenate Way, all of which are committed to a re-evangelization of Europe. These movements use charismatic styles of worship and devotion that would seem more at home in an American Pentecostal church, but at the same time they are thoroughly Catholic. Though most of these movements originated in Spain and Italy, they have subsequently spread throughout Europe and across the Catholic world. Their influence over the younger clergy and lay leaders who will shape the church in the next generation is surprisingly strong.

Similar trends are at work within the Protestant churches of Northern and Western Europe.

Read it here.

This is how the Reformation got off the ground. Maybe European Christianity can rise from the ashes. We will see..., we will see.

What really caught my attention in this article was this stunning quote:

J├╝rgen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, “Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter.”
If the secularists have lost Habermas, they've lost the fight. It will be fun watching them try to discredit one of their former heroes.